Lent Read #11: YUMMY by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy DuBurke

Can a children's book help redeem a senseless tragedy? It can certainly play a part, at least in the case of YUMMY: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri, a graphic novel stunningly illustrated by Randy DuBurke (Lee and Low). In this gripping true story, we're introduced to a Chicago boy who at age 11 not only murdered but was murdered. Was Yummy villain or victim? In either case, he did have some choices, and young readers must grapple with the reality of them as his story goes from bad to worse.

As I read it, I was struck by the fact that now, through the gift of a many-starred and lauded story, this young man's life is given meaning and value of which he had no inkling when he died. Readers who reflect on the circumstances, challenges, choices, and consequences of Yummy's short life are likely to "choose wisely," as Neri advises in his postscript, and help others to do the same.

Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty from Greg Neri on Vimeo.